“Cobra Kai,” The First Two Episodes

YouTube’s new “Cobra Kai” series was recommended in the comments. The show takes place in the present day, 34 years after the original “Karate Kid” movie. It stars the same actors who played the protagonist Daniel LaRusso and his enemy Johnny Lawrence. Three decades after high school, Daniel owns an expanding chain of luxury auto dealerships. Johnny is down and out. The writers and producers (((echo))) heavily, but when do they not? We can enjoy commercial pop culture through a filter. My impressions while watching the first two episodes:

Episode 1

– Johnny’s license plate begins with “4DDT…” Besides the old ill-fated insecticide, those letters (DDT) were the name of a finishing move in 1980s professional wrestling. The camera zoomed in on the plates in the character-introduction moment, so they probably have meaning.

– When he fights the multiracial bully gang (one or two White preppies, one White chubster, one Asian, one nerdy black), it looks realistic. So when the fat guy bear-hugged Johnny and pushed him into a light pole, my interest was piqued, wondering how he’s getting out of it. He did, and it looked credible. Well done.

– His stepfather’s nurse, whom Johnny sees when he walks into his own apartment, having no idea who she is. It’s strange how the image of graceless black women is promoted. You’d figure she’d get her caboose off Johnny’s couch and at least introduce herself. Instead, she  harrumphed something without taking her eyes off Johnny’s television. One might think that what’s being promoted, is a variation on the female Noble Savage, an earth-mother figure with a heart of gold and infinite common sense plus folksy advice… but one would be wrong. What’s being promoted, is conditioning that Whites ought to become accustomed to getting zero courtesy from a black, even in their own homes.

– Johnny’s drunk, he drives away somewhere. Foreigner song “Head Games” comes on his car radio as he’s reminiscing high school, depicted by scenes from the first “Karate Kid” movie. He smiles when recalling his ex-girlfriend Ali (young Elizabeth Shue), whom he lost to Daniel. From what I read ahead in the plot synopses, she does not make any appearances on the show. I wonder, how would the writers handle her character’s reunion with either Johnny or Daniel? Teen love passes. Or does it, if it’s the first big one? Certainly not, as far as these characters are concerned, in the minds of people who saw the original “Karate Kid” at 14.

Episode 2

Johnny is training his first student, Miguel, an awkward Hispanic kid with asthma and bully-problems. (An aside on the Great White Father misdirection that “Gran Torino” took in Eastwood’s character rejecting a White teen in favor of Hmongs: it’s a “Karate Kid” motif. Mr. Miyagi, after all, wasn’t mentoring a Japanese boy.)

So Johnny gives Miguel a lecture about not being a pussy and having balls, and Miguel says: “Don’t you think you’re doing a lot of genderizing?”

Johnny is genuinely confused by that dollop of late-rot cultural Marxism. Miguel helpfully clarifies: “My guidance counselor says that a lot of words perpetuate the sexist worldview that can trigger …”

Johnny: “QUIET!! From now on, you’ll not listen to your guidance counselor. You’ll listen to me. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sensei.”



– You cheer for Johnny. By creators’ intent or not, I don’t know yet. You wonder if his Cobra Kai background will be his final corruption and undoing, and if so, will that be forced by the fiat of the show’s writers. At this point, everything about Johnny is like rivers of cleansing water.

– Shiksa-hate in the script, with the beautiful blonde (friend of Daniel LaRusso’s daughter) being gratuitously cruel.

– I don’t know what upper-class teenage life in Los Angeles is like. It’s shown here as multiracial, in a familiar sanitized sort of way.

– Fat black girl is a rocket scientist, just like those gals in “Hidden Figures.”

– Johnny is a deadbeat dad. His son is a juvenile delinquent but he looks good and healthy. Meanwhile Daniel LaRusso’s son, who is about 12 years old, is an obese, androgynous, video game-addicted boy who has no emotional connection with or respect for his father.

– Daniel loves his teenage daughter more than he does his son. With the boy, attempts at bonding are, per Mike and the Mechanics, “stilted conversations, I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got.” There is a flashback scene of him and his daughter, in her childhood, bonding over karate. No such flashbacks with the boy.

– Daniel confronts Johnny in the newly reopened Cobra Kai dojo. Knowing things about Daniel’s daughter and her friends that Daniel doesn’t know, Johnny speaks his parting words: “Get your house in order, LaRusso.”

That’s all I watched so far. So far, I recommend it.

12 thoughts on ““Cobra Kai,” The First Two Episodes

  1. Pingback: “Cobra Kai,” First Two Episodes | Reaction Times

  2. WTF? Why is every alt-right site on the internet promoting this trash?

    The alt-right popularized the term “cuck”. Yet white men promoting shows depicting white women romantically involved with non-white men is pretty damn cuckish.

    This show follows the Hollywood trend of depicting white female/non-white male interracial relationships.

    Yes, Johnny says some politically incorrect things. But he trains the non-white kid to beat up white boys and get the white girl!

    It’s no better than the recent Rocky movies where he white-knights for coal-burners and trains niggers to take his place. It is ultimate white male self-sacrifice to the anti-white PC gods.

    Avoid this garbage.

  3. All true. Two of the show’s three creators are named Hurwitz and Schlossberg. Poz is a given with anything that comes out of the entertainment industry. I do recommend it to adults after seeing the first two episodes. It’s a look at fallen California. It’s also a redemption story, at least so far, of Johnny, who represents all of us. It’s almost certain that his character is lifted up as a set-up for a final fall. We’ll have to see.

    Anti-White tropes are everywhere, thought they are mostly subtle. Like that fat black nurse I described already, there is another such moment — Daniel invites his daughter’s aspiring boyfriend for dinner at their house and makes him sushi. The boy is a tall, arrogant, upper class Asian. The boy tells Daniel that he doesn’t like sushi, as it’s being served.

    It’s an unremarkable scene, until you consider the gravity of the insult to a host.

    YT, you just best get used to getting no respect, no courtesy, no scintilla of effort to be treated like something higher than a slave by the filthy squatters on your own land.

    All that said, I’m continuing to watch the series. Johnny’s story is compelling, and that’s an understatement. The Cobra Kai show is a cultural event that’s worth studying.

  4. Interesting write-up; for me the very format of these kinds of slivered series is a bewildering snare. The mind hog-tied to a radiating debris of predictable amusements, a grab bag of depleted interruptions and surrogate impressions. A shorter work for something like Omnimax or 70 mm would be more amenable to memory and reflection, if one insists on screen-centered allurements.

  5. This series is, as of right now, a cultural phenom.

    Hat tip to Ralph Macchio for ‘seizing the opportunity,’ if nothing else.

    The writing is utterly in evidence of red zone cognition.

    For instance the scene PA references where LaRusso has his teenage daughter’s prospective suitor over for a get-to-know-ya sushi dinner, and he asks said suitor who is Asian where he is from, and said suitor answers Fresno.

    LaRusso with his expression responds that’s not what I meant (and you know it)

  6. There is a meta problem in taking this shows too seriously, of course. We all need to be getting to uh real life and that sort of thing.

    How comes your assail of the fortress puppetry, or are you finding it too gay?

    Puppetry and its swapple attraction has been a joke for a long time. I don’t actually recommend studying puppetry, except maybe coming up with a good script.

    Media criticism has been done to death by the Alt Right.

    The AR made its name, with media criticism. Media criticism is the meta venue that we, like, totally own.

    Of course it (it being media and its criticism) is by its nature, regressive. The media is the message, and the problems of screen time are hard to get away from. Whatcha gonna do.

    Macchio is taking a chance to make himself relevant again. Castizo nationalism is a problem.

    I for one am looking forward to our new Italian Castizo overlords.

  7. I’ve seen them all and without spoiling it for anyone that hasn’t, my favorite moment was Johnny calling Daniel’s little fat boi son a ‘dick’. There is some racial poz, but all in all, I was shocked this show got green-lighted as is. It’s like an 80’s nostalgia train crashing into millennial feels at 100mph.

    Tip: Do the 30 day YT Red free trial to watch the whole series then cancel before the subscription renews. Although I will say, the subscription made it enjoyable to watch music videos on YT again without all those annoying ads & commercials.

  8. — The other thing is just how desperately hungry these kids are for real leadership, for masculine role models (the girls need Johnny just as much as the boys). Johnny calls out equalist dogma, and the show doesn’t handle violence with kid gloves.

    That’s what I’m getting out of the first two episodes. Looking forward to the next one.

    — There is some racial poz, but all in all, I was shocked this show got green-lighted as is.

    It’s both, kind of sanitized and exaggerated. I don’t know the LA scene. Mestizos have a pleasant almost-European look these kinds of shows, including Miguel – rather than that alien Central American look one sees in real life.

    The “Rude Black / Good-Sport White” motif is an old one, goes back to 1990s sitcoms, if not earlier. I might well be the first person to ever call that out!

  9. — And Johnny’s choice of woman with whom to reproduce is rather Freudian if you understand the implication that his ex is just like his mom.

    Interesting. I’ll have to do that trial membership with Youtube and watch further. Another fascinating theme I picked up on in the first two episodes: “Something went wrong with the message.”

    Specifically, Daniel LaRusso. He represented everything that 1980s counterculture (ie, the proto-PC that exploded in 1990) promoted: the antihero, the sensitive non-fighter, the non-blond son of a single mother. The boy had a first rate mentor in Mr. Miyagi, who taught him the fundamental lesson in life, balance.

    And yet, he became a smarmy car salesman who can’t handle a conversation with an unemployed man, who uses Karate as a goof in ads. The anti-shitlord message failed.

    “Get your house in order, LaRusso.” — Johnny

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